Even after all my years alive… Married… Parenting… Working… Etc. There’s something I still have never seen or truly understood.
I don’t mean relative balance. I mean complete balance. Where every aspect of your life is satisfying and properly managed. Nothing to be ashamed of. Nothing to apologize for. Not living in alternate universes throughout the day.
Charming and kind in one place, rude and demanding in another. Well respected at work, resented at home. Polite to the CEO, jerk to the waitress. Attentive to the little hottie at the grocery store, dismissive to the wife at home.
Kinda like that.
It seems like most folks are content to pretend they are balanced. Maybe it’s easier to maintain an image, than actually balance life. I don’t know. Like the couple that fights all the way to church, but manages to smile and shake hands with everyone in the parking lot. The guy who dresses like a million bucks, runs a successful business, but has no idea how to take care of his own family.
Then there’s this.
Emotionally and spiritually balanced, but addicted to McDonald’s and extremely overweight. Physically magnificent, but self absorbed and arrogant. Genius level intelligence, microscopic social skills. Impressive social skills, emotional train wreck. Emotionally, spiritually and physically fine, can’t manage money and perpetually broke.
This should be the point in my rant, where I take this conundrum and turn it into a life lesson. The place where I twist everything into something useful.
Sorry. Not yet. I don’t qualify as balanced, any more than the rest of you guys. There are areas in my life that are wonderful and under control, while others are frustrating, like I have no control at all.
Over all these years, I have only witness partial balance. Very few people who appear to have it all together, and are actually close. Most of us spend our lives and energy doing the best we can, but not able to disperse that energy into every area.
I think that’s why Christ is such a beacon to us.
He was able to love, even while being hated. Generous, without abundance. Forgiving, despite persecution. Maintaining integrity, regardless of temptations. Bringing eternal life, even to those who wanted Him dead. That kind of balance doesn’t show up very often.
Part of what made Him balanced, was His concept of relationships. He didn’t think like us.
Most of humanity develops and maintains relationships for personal benefit only. We are nice to people who are nice to us. We respond to kindness with kindness. We tend to attach ourselves to people who have or emulate what we want.
The guy with the boat has plenty of friends during the summer. The guy with the man cave, pool table and all access cable can have a party for every game that gets televised. The problem is, those friendships are fine for a while, but few are really solid relationships. We get in trouble when we assume that we have made real friends on flimsy foundations.
One of my best friends is retired military. We survived high school and the aftermath of trying to become adults together. We were there for each other when marriages began, kids were born and divorces became options. We have some firm and entertaining foundations for our friendship.
I found out that he has developed even stronger friendships, after I heckled him on Facebook.
Some of his military buddies thought I was serious and insulting him. I ended up being threatened by a few guys that have resumes like Rambo. We got it sorted out, all is well. But, I realized something after that. We might be friends, but those guys survived war together. Those guys risked their lives for each other. Those guys were put into situations where they had no choice but to trust and depend on each other. They were given missions and challenges every day that required teamwork and trust.
That’s a pretty solid foundation for lasting friendship.
It should be the same in our homes. Our mission is a long and happy marriage. To survive the daily challenges and ongoing struggles together. To concentrate our efforts and resources into proving our love for our wife and showing her that she is the most important person in our world. Not getting distracted and sidetracked by random foolishness that offers no benefit to our family. Not by giving our best away to anyone else, but reserving it for our own family.
Listen guys. Having everything you want in life, but not being able to manage and maintain relationships with your own wife and kids is out of balance in one of the worst ways. Nothing you can achieve or own is a fair substitution for your family.
Without understanding relationships, balance is unachievable. Regardless of anything else you do well, the inability to interact properly with humanity throws you out of balance. If you are married, you then have to prioritize those relationships.
Nobody gets between you and your wife.
My life isn’t balanced in all the ways I want. But the marriage thing has been through hell and back, survived the impossible, forced us to make decisions that nobody should have to make… And we are still here, stronger than ever. She isn’t just my wife, she is my best friend. Despite all the areas in my life that aren’t perfect, this one is pretty close.
And we are searching for our balance. Making changes and decisions so that each aspect of our life will support and compliment the others. We may never make it completely, but we will search together.
It’s coming together pretty good right now.
If you need a starting point for balancing your family, start here…